Sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
08 Apr 21. RAF Sentinel R1 Takes Final Curtain Call. One of the Royal Air Force’s most effective Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft of recent times, the Raytheon Sentinel R1, was withdrawn from service at the end of March and the unit operating it V (Army Cooperation) Squadron, disbanded. The aircraft, based on the Bombardier Global Express aircraft and completed for role by Raytheon, utilised an active electronically-scanned array ‘dual mode’ surveillance radar which delivered ground moving target indicator and synthetic aperture radar imagery, which allowed it to gather intelligence while detecting and tracking targets both on land and in the air.
The United Kingdom operated five Sentinel R1s ASTOR (Airborne STand-Off Radar) aircraft which began their service with an initial operational flight over Afghanistan on 15 November 2008. Since then they have been deployed to support numerous operations including Op Herrick (Afghanistan), Op Telic (Iraq), Op Shader (Iraq/Syria), Op Turus (West Africa), Op Ellamy (Libya), Op Newcombe (North Africa) and Op Kipion (Middle East).
The final operational sortie was conducted on 25 February 2021, when a Sentinel was tasked to fly near Kaliningrad Oblast and Belarus
According to the RAF, the longest operational flight by a Sentinel aircraft lasted 12 hours and 30 minutes during Op Ellamy during the conflict in Libya. The Sentinel fleet has flown around 32,300 hours and conducted 4,870 sorties.
A final tribute came from RAF Waddington Station Commander, Group Captain Steve Kilvington who said that the Sentinel R1 force had “delivered exceptional support to numerous operations across the globe. Whether tackling insurgency in the Middle East or supporting NATO on Europe’s flanks, the Squadron’s output has truly epitomised the Whole Force concept.”
There is no direct replacement for the Sentinel R1, although the Ministry of Defence points to a range of capabilities currently serving or on order that it believes will deliver the UK’s future ISR requirements. These include: nine Boeing P-8 MRA1 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, five Boeing E-7 Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) based on a 737 fuselage, up to 16 General Atomics Protector Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS) ISTAR Protectors which will be armed, three RC-135W Rivet Joint electronic surveillance aircraft and five Beechcraft King Air 350CER Shadow aircraft. (Source: Armada)
08 Apr 21. Airbus and TNO to develop aircraft laser communication terminal. Airbus and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) have launched a programme to develop a laser communication terminal demonstrator for aircraft, known as UltraAir. The project, which is co-financed by Airbus, TNO and the Netherlands Space Office (NSO), is part of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) ScyLight (Secure and Laser communication technology) programme. It covers the design, construction and testing of the technology demonstrator. Laser communication technologies are the next revolution in satellite communications (satcom), bringing unprecedented transmission rates, data security and resilience to meet commercial needs in the next decade.
The UltraAir terminal will be capable of laser connections between an aircraft and a satellite in geostationary orbit 36,000 km above the Earth, with unparalleled technology including a highly stable and precise optical mechatronic system. The technology demonstrator will pave the way for a future UltraAir product with which data transmission rates could reach several gigabits-per-second while providing anti-jamming and low probability of interception. In this way UltraAir will not only enable military aircraft and UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to connect within a combat cloud, but also in the longer term allow airline passengers to establish high-speed data connections thanks to the Airbus’ SpaceDataHighway constellation. From their position in geostationary orbit, the SpaceDataHighway (EDRS) satellites relay data collected by observation satellites to Earth in near-real-time, a process that would normally take several hours.
Airbus is leading the project and brings its unique expertise in laser satellite communications, developed with the SpaceDataHighway programme. It will coordinate the development of the terminal and testing on the ground and in the air. As key partner of the project, TNO provides its experience in high-precision opto-mechatronics, supported by the Dutch high-tech and space industry. Airbus Defence and Space in the Netherlands will be responsible for the industrial production of the terminals. Airbus’ subsidiary Tesat brings its technical expertise in laser communication systems and will be involved in all testing activities.
The first tests will take place at the end of 2021 in laboratory conditions at Tesat. In a second phase, ground tests will start early 2022 in Tenerife (Spain), where connectivity will be established between an UltraAir demonstrator and the laser terminal embarked on the Alphasat satellite using the ESA Optical Ground Station. For the final verification, the UltraAir demonstrator will be integrated on an aircraft for flight testing by mid-2022.
As satellite services demand is growing, the traditional satcom radio-frequency bands are experiencing bottlenecks. Laser links also have the benefit of avoiding interference and detection, as in comparison to the already-crowded radio frequencies, laser communication is extremely difficult to intercept due to a much narrower beam. Thus, laser terminals can be lighter, consume less power and offer even better security than radio.
This new programme is a key milestone in the roadmap of Airbus’ overall strategy to drive laser communications further, which will bring forward the benefits of this technology as a key differentiator for providing Multi-Domain collaboration for Government and defence customers.
06 Apr 21. Gulfstream Delivers Special Missions Aircraft to Israeli AF. Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. today announced it delivered a special missions Gulfstream G550™ to the Israeli Air Force to support and enhance their mission-critical surveillance operations.
“Israel has been a Gulfstream special-missions customer for many years, and we are grateful for their continued confidence in us,” said Mark Burns, president, Gulfstream. “With unparalleled performance capabilities, our modified aircraft can fly the demanding missions governments and militaries conduct around the world. Combined with the exceptional reliability our platforms provide and the expertise of our dedicated teams, Gulfstream’s special-missions service is second to none.”
Gulfstream’s engineers designed the adjustments to the aircraft’s exterior and flight deck, and its production team built the surveillance platform in the dedicated special-missions modification facilities in Savannah.
Gulfstream has been producing special-missions aircraft for over 50 years, with more than 200 aircraft delivered to governments and militaries in more than 40 countries. Capabilities include airborne security operations, advanced medevac, airborne research and priority transport missions. Gulfstream Customer Support also offers tailored contractor logistics support for special-missions customers around the world. (Source: ASD Network)
07 Apr 21. UK MAA clears first Wedgetail conversions. The UK Military Aviation Authority (MAA) has cleared Boeing and STS Aviation Services to proceed with the E-7 Wedgetail airborne early warning Mk 1 (AEW1) conversions it commenced in late 2020.
Boeing UK announced the milestone for the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) programme to field three Wedgetail AEW1 aircraft on 6 April.
“Wedgetail has reached another milestone, with the UK MAA approving Boeing and STS Aviation to modify the first aircraft in Birmingham. Working with [the UK’s] Defence Equipment and Support [agency], we’re one step closer to delivering the first E-7 Wedgetail for the RAF,” the manufacturer tweeted.
The MAA approval follows the start of conversions in November 2020, with the first fuselage sections for the first two aircraft being inducted into the line at STS Aviation Services in Birmingham. “Section 46 is the part of the fuselage where the aircraft’s [Northrop Grumman] multirole electronically scanned-array (MESA) radar will be installed,” Boeing UK said at the time, adding that the first Section 46 will begin preparation for inclusion into a 737 Next Generation (NG) airliner later that month.
In May 2020 it was announced that STS Aviation Services would be responsible for converting ‘green’ 737 NG airliners into Wedgetails (this work had previously been earmarked for Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group before the switch for unspecified reasons). Leonardo will be responsible for delivering the aircraft’s defensive aids suite, part of which it will subcontract to Thales UK for its Elix-IR threat warning system and Vicon XF ‘intelligent’ countermeasures dispensing system. (Source: Jane’s)
06 Apr 21. Velodyne Lidar Announces Multi-Year Agreement with AGM Systems Russia. Velodyne Lidar, Inc. has announced a multi-year agreement with AGM Systems LLC, which provides state-of-the-art hardware and software technology for the collection, processing and analysis of air and mobile mapping data. AGM Systems will utilize Velodyne’s Ultra Puck lidar sensor in their new AGM-MS3 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) mapping solution.
This solution is their second generation of one of the most popular UAV lidar scanning technologies for mapping in Russia. AGM Systems serves global leaders in the energy sector with its multi-functional, high performance technology based on Velodyne’s lidar.
AGM Systems LLC is the first company in Russia to use lidar on fixed-wing-type UAVs, choosing Velodyne for the high quality, low power consumption and reliability of its technology. AGM Systems’ Velodyne lidar-enabled UAV solutions have been validated by the experience of their customers and partners.
“The data quality of the AGM-MS3, enabled by Velodyne Lidar’s Ultra Puck, is confirmed by assessments carried out at a specialized testing site of the university,” said Kamina Nadezha, Rector, Moscow State University of Geodesy and Cartography. “In the course of the study, the accuracy, detail, repeatability and stability of the system were evaluated. At the moment, this is the best solution on the Russian market for UAV mapping with lidar, verified by our university.”
Combined use of AGM-PS inertial navigation systems, highly detailed Velodyne Lidar output and proprietary software makes it possible to obtain centimeter-level accuracy when scanning from heights of up to 200 meters. A key factor for UAVs is navigation and safe landing, which is why AGM Systems chose Velodyne’s precise, compact Ultra Puck lidar sensor.
“Velodyne’s Ultra Puck lidar sensors are reliable, accurate and versatile technological solutions,” said Mischenko Yury, Production Director, AGM Systems LLC. “They meet the needs of our customers with low weight, low power consumption, and ease of integration. Velodyne is a well-respected name in the industry and a valued partner for us.”
The AGM-MS3 from AGM Systems combines use of AGM-PS inertial navigation systems, highly detailed Velodyne Lidar sensor output and proprietary software to make it possible to obtain centimeter-level accuracy when scanning from heights of up to 200 meters
“Some of the largest companies in the world rely on AGM solutions equipped with Velodyne’s Ultra Puck to achieve precise mapping,” said Erich Smidt, Executive Director of Velodyne Europe. “AGM Systems’ UAVs are a great example of how Velodyne’s sensors enable surveying, real-time assessment and monitoring applications of valuable energy resources.”
In addition to Velodyne-powered solutions, AGM Systems provides comprehensive implementation of laser scanning technologies in the production process. Due to this, technologies are available for a range of customers – from an ordinary surveyor or university – to market leaders in the field of design and construction. The experience of specialists in the fields of physics, geodesy, applied mathematics and other disciplines allows AGM Systems to solve the most complex technical problems and provide for customers with an innovative product. (Source: UAS VISION)
05 Apr 21. US Navy, CENTCOM seek solutions for stratospheric ISR operations. The US Navy and US Central Command (CENTCOM) are seeking industry solutions to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities to enhance the use of unmanned aerial systems (UASs) for stratospheric intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations, according to a joint solicitation.
The Strategic Command, Control, Communications, Computers and ISR (C4ISR) to Operationalize the Stratosphere (SCOS) programme will be led out of CENTCOM and the Naval Surface Warfare Center – Crane Division (NSWC-Crane). The programme will focus on the use of stratospheric balloons or solar-electric powered UAS platforms, according to the Request for Solutions (RFS) notice by the Strategic & Spectrum Missions Advanced Resilient Trusted Systems (S2MARTS) other transactional authority (OTA).
“Developmental testing in the last five years has been focused on operationalising the stratosphere” via stratospheric balloons and solar UASs, the RFS stated. “These platforms offer the opportunity to enhance the mission for persistent operations in non-permissive environments,” it added.
With the platforms’ extremely high operating altitude and ability to remain on station over an ISR target for an extended period of time, both stratospheric systems provide combat commanders earlier intelligence and warning data on a proposed threat, as well as provide ground forces with a resilient airborne communication node and information cross datalink, programme officials wrote. Additionally, the operating altitudes of these platforms can improve maritime and land domain awareness, as well as mitigate any degradation in space based ISR collection assets, such as satellites, they added. (Source: Jane’s)
01 Apr 21. US Army selects Fortem Technologies’ DroneHunter counter drone technology as part of defence command and control programme. US Army Joint Counter-UAS Office (JCO) has selected Fortem Technologies’ DroneHunter as the interim command and control standard for countering small unmanned drones for the Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control system, or FAAD C2. DroneHunter is a kinetic, non-lethal interceptor designed to stop dangerous drones, including RF-silent drones, at a safe distance before they harm people or cause damage to property.
Built on open architecture, FAAD C2 is a flexible system that enables easy integration with multiple sensors, effectors and warning systems to launch rapid, real-time defense against short range and maneuvering threats. The system collects, processes, and disseminates real-time target tracking and cuing information to all short-range air defense weapons and provides command and control (C2) for the Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) System-of-Systems (SoS).
“The DroneHunter is an autonomous, radar-guided drone for safe, kinetic, effective mitigation of small drones and fixed wings day and night,” said Timothy Bean, CEO of Fortem Technologies. “With the JCO having named FAAD as their standard C2, it means we can collectively speed solutions to the warfighter and save the government time and money in getting an effective system deployed.”
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05 Apr 21. Russia’s Federal Nuclear Center “develops missile-based net capture C-UAS system.” Russia Beyond reports that the Russian Federal Nuclear Center has developed a counter-drone net capture system which will be presented to the public in mid 2021 during the Army-2021 military exhibition in Moscow.
According to the news report: “The system consists of a missile with laser guidance. This navigation system brings a container with a trap net inside to a drone. The moment AI recognises an unmanned aerial vehicle, it opens the net and catches the “enemy alive”, ensuring that the owner of the drone loses the signal. The creators note that the existing traps are effective for catching high-speed UAVs capable of performing complex maneuvers. The system works as follows – a missile flies in the air scanning the territory below. Once it detects an enemy aerial target, it dives down opening the net. Scientists plan to increase missiles’ capabilities, its initial speed and load capability in the coming months prior to its debut. According to creators, this technology is unique and has no analogues on the market, as companies mostly concentrate on blinding drones with means of radio-electronic warfare or via creating anti-drone guns.”
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06 Apr 21. Sensors – the Brains of a Naval Platform. Naval sensors are typically used as detection systems across several naval platforms. These technologies are integrated onto the surface of naval combatants in order to strategize operations based on the surrounding environment of the vessel. The continuous technological integration and up-gradation with respect to naval munition and armament technology are some of the key factors that drive the growth of this market. The development of high sensitivity sensors is anticipated to expand the demand associated with this vertical.
Moreover, several countries have been focused on modernizing their existing fleet capability. Growth in system integration and remodeling has also boosted the growth dynamics of this sector. The rise in investment associated with research for naval platforms also supports the market expansion. The United States DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is currently building a submarine that will never run out of power. The defense agency has currently given the contract to the company, Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, and Martin Defense Group to build a demonstration version of the new UUV (Unmanned Underwater Vehicle). This technology is coined as Manta Ray.
The Unmanned Systems vertical is one of the fastest-growing naval platforms within the Global Naval Sensors Market. The rampant growth in requirement for asset security is one of the key reasons associated with the expansion of this market. Unmanned systems are cost-efficient technology solutions for data collection amongst underwater combatants. The technology portrays a high degree of proficiency as compared to manned surveillance platforms.
DARPA has awarded a contract to Metron to develop an energy harvesting system to power the submarine indefinitely. This technology will enable the system to carry out operations lasting months or years without the requirement for refueling. The technology is hereby anticipated to reduce operational costs linked to a typical UUV platform. The system’s structure facilitates minimum drag in addition to optimized power utilization. The researchers aim to develop a system that can harness energy from the sea. This system design provides Manta Ray an edge over robot submarines.
Manta Ray is anticipated to demonstrate, a class of long-range, long duration, and payload capable robot submarine. It can perform persistent operations in forward environments. The system can be retrofitted with modular sensor-based technologies. Manta Ray has the ability to carry systems ranging from a small towed sonar array (for submarine detection), and EW (electronic warfare) equipment. The technology can also be a carrier for acoustic sensors that are to be placed on the seabed for strategic mapping of the underwater landscape.
The sensors embedded in this technology are predominantly categorized into two sets namely, essential and payload. The essential sensors are used to determine the robot’s state while performing a mission, i.e. its orientation, depth, etc. The payload sensors on the contrary are used to obtain information about the robot’s environment. This data is used as mission-specific information which is utilized to structure the operation. An IMU (inertial measuring unit) and pressure sensor account for one of the key components associated with this technology.
Countries have also been investing heavily in indigenous programs to increase the naval defense contribution to the GDP. The inclusion of these programs boosts the direct, indirect, and induced employment within the Naval sensors market. The increased generation of employment amongst the population supports a positive multiplier effect. The spending capacity on a per capita basis within the economy would increase. This in turn would support and promote the growth in GDP contribution associated with the Naval sensors market.
The DODs has been investing in modular technologies which in turn increases the economies of scale associated with this industry vertical. The overall growth dynamics of this sector and its impact on the economy have been covered diversely within this report. Indigeneity supports growth in terms of skilled labor linked to a market. This in turn boosts technical innovation and competition within a sector.
India is one of the naval forces that has been investing heavily in domestic defense technologies. The country is a developing economy that is rapidly moving towards increasing industrialization as well as urbanization. The indigeneity of the equipment within a naval warship is measured in terms of three categories within the Indian Navy, i.e. Float, Move, and Flight.
According to the Indian Naval plan for 2015-2030, the 3 categories had been indigenized to the extent of 90%, 30%, and 60% respectively. The flight segment accounts for EW equipment, combat systems as well as HF/VLF transmitters and HF receivers. Sonars and supersonic missile systems are also a part of this domain. The overall flight market accounts for systems that integrate naval sensors. Although, 70% of this segment comprises imports. Thus the trade balance within this market is negative. Hence India as a nation has been investing heavily in technology which can potentially increase the naval export base within this country.
The development of new designs and increased research infrastructure boosts the survivability of the existing technology in addition to producing optimal solutions. The increased investment in research with respect to quantum technology and quantum magnetometers is expected to create a shift in market trends. High sensitivity components like SQUID are now being optimized in order to enhance the existing detection systems. Continued research associated with this market segment is being conducted by China. (Source: ASD Network)
01 Apr 21. NATO Agency invites entries to data fusion challenge for unmanned systems tracking. The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency is challenging scientists to use data to track unmanned aircraft systems entering a protected flight zone. The competition is run as part of the International Conference on Military Communication and Information Systems (ICMCIS) and is open to any teams. Results will be presented in a special session of ICMCIS.
NATO is currently looking at capabilities to protect people, equipment, and in general its missions against the threat of misuse of drones / Class I Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Class I UAS include unmanned aircraft with a mass lower than 150Kg; hobby drones are a typical example of Class I UAS.
Participants in the challenge can fuse together several sources of data provided by the Agency to track the drones to track, classify and identify Class I UAS as they fly within a defined area, from the data provided by the available sensors. The drones should be tracked, to show their location and velocity; they should also be classified, to indicate what type of object has been detected (e.g. drone, bird); and they should be identified and indicate which type of UAS has been observed (e.g. DJI Mavic Pro). The challenge is part of a larger research and development effort at the NCI Agency aiming at developing effective remote sensing technologies suitable for detecting, tracking and identifying Class I UASs. The data released for this challenge was recorded in 2020 during a measurement campaign at the Dutch Ministry of Defence’s Counter-UAS Nucleus, in the Netherlands.
NATO sponsored the measurement campaign through its Defence Against Terrorism Programme of Work, and the event was further supported by several government and industry partners.
Challenge participants will be invited to present their solution at a special session of ICMCIS on 4-5 May 2021. In addition to the special session on ‘data science solutions to counter UAS,’ the conference includes a keynote on the challenges of UAS by Liisa Janssens, co-author of A Comprehensive Approach to Countering Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
A follow on Counter UAS exercise will be held in September 2021.
Submission deadline: 18 April 2021
Entry information: https://www.kaggle.com/c/icmcis-drone-tracking/
05 Apr 21. Leonardo updates Type 163 laser target designator for DACAS. Leonardo is continuing to develop its Type 163 laser target designator (LTD)/laser rangefinder (LRF), and plans to integrate a digital magnetic compass, Andrew Sijan, head of Advanced Targeting Campaigns at Leonardo, told Janes. Sijan said more than 700 units of the Type 163 LTD had been sold to 23 countries, including approximately 450 to the US. The most recent customer was Slovenia, which had placed an order, the size and value of which were not disclosed in January 2021.
He said that the Type 163’s design leverages Leonardo’s experience in building airborne targeting lasers where size, weight, and power (SWAP) are critical. With a laser output power typically more than 80 mJ, weighing 2.5 kg including the battery, and measuring 322 x 142 x 87 mm, he claimed that no other LTD equals the Type 163 for energy output per kilogram. He observed that reducing SWAP should not be achieved at the expense of output power, as this is key to providing target illumination for a weapon-launching aircraft beyond threat range.
The Type 163 has a modular architecture, which made upgrades easier, said Srijan. He noted that a previous development cycle, first revealed at the 2019 DSEi exhibition, had upgraded the human-machine interface (HMI) to enable digitally assisted close air support (DACAS). Because the HMI module, which consists of both hardware and software, is separate to the laser, there had been no requirement to seek requalification for target designation accuracy. (Source: Jane’s)
06 Apr 21. Cambridge Pixel to Supply US Navy with Radar Processing for AN/SYY-1 Shipboard Air Traffic Control Upgrade. Cambridge Pixel to supply HPx-250 radar interface cards and SPx radar and IFF (identification friend or foe) plot extraction software to the Naval Air Warfare Centre for deployment on all US Navy CVN, LHA and LHD-class ships.
Cambridge Pixel, a developer of radar display, tracking and recording sub-systems (www.cambridgepixel.com), is supplying its HPx-250 PMC radar interface cards and SPx radar and IFF plot extraction software to the Naval Air Warfare Centre for the United States Navy’s AN/SYY-1 Shipboard Air Traffic Control Processing and Display System.
The AN/SYY-1 is the US Navy’s upgrade to the AN/TPX-42 system used for shipboard air traffic control. The new system will be deployed on all CVN-class aircraft carriers as well as on helicopter landing ships (LHA and LHD-class vessels). Cambridge Pixel’s technology will be used to process radar returns, extract radar and IFF plots and display radar video from the primary and secondary radar video on all the ships.
Engineers developing the AN/SYY-1 system at the Naval Air Warfare Center – Webster Outlying Field (NAWC WOLF) in Saint Inigoes, Maryland, USA, needed a radar acquisition card and supporting software that provided radar plot extraction, IFF plot extraction, radar distribution and scan conversion. The AN/SYY-1 system uses a multi-sensor tracker to provide the Air Controller with a fused (composite) track comprised from all available sensors.
David Kenney, electronics engineer, Naval Air Warfare Center’s Shipboard Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems, said: “We chose the Cambridge Pixel HPx-250 PMC card because it satisfied our three key requirements in a low powered, small form factor solution. The Cambridge Pixel team has also worked closely with NAWC WOLF personnel during development and responded to requests for unique modifications in an economical and timely manner.”
David Johnson, CEO, Cambridge Pixel, said: “We are delighted to be offering our modular HPx and SPx radar processing components into this technology refresh program. We have incorporated considerable flexibility into the radar interfacing and data processing modules which has allowed us to accommodate the needs of the AN/SYY-1 upgrade.”
Cambridge Pixel’s HPx-250 is a PMC-format daughterboard that fits onto a VME processor board. The card receives radar signals, including video, trigger and azimuth, and passes the digitised and processed video to the SPx Server plot extraction software, which runs on the host computer.
For combined primary and IFF requirements, two HPx-250 cards are deployed on a single VME processor, with one instance of SPx Server software handling IFF decoding and plot extraction, and the other handling primary video plot extraction and video processing.
For IFF video, mode tags embedded in the video are used to identify the interrogation mode to permit correct decoding of altitude and call sign data. For primary radar video, plots are identified as areas of video passing a target-like acceptance criteria. Plots, along with digitised video, are passed out of SPx Server into downstream track processing and display.
Cambridge Pixel’s HPx-250 card is part of a family of radar acquisition and processing components that provide system integrators with a powerful toolkit to build server and client display systems. A wide variety of signal types and input voltages are supported on the card, allowing connection to a diverse range of commercial and military radar types including those from Furuno, Hensoldt, JRC, Koden, Raytheon, Sperry, Terma, as well as specialist military radars.
The company’s SPx suite of software libraries and applications provides highly flexible, ready-to-run software products or ‘modules-of-expertise’ for radar scan conversion, visualisation, radar video distribution, target tracking, sensor fusion, plot extraction and clutter processing.
Cambridge Pixel’s radar technology is used in naval, air traffic control, vessel traffic, unmanned systems, Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS), commercial shipping, security, surveillance and airborne radar applications.
Its systems and software have been implemented in mission-critical applications with companies such as BAE Systems, Frontier Electronic Systems, Blighter Surveillance Systems, Exelis, Hanwha Systems, Kelvin Hughes, Lockheed Martin, Navtech Radar, Raytheon, Royal Thai Air Force, Saab Sensis, Sofresud and Tellumat.
04 Apr 21. Sentient Vision launches new ViDAR pod. Australian search and surveillance specialist Sentient Vision Systems has announced the first flight of its ViDAR pod system, the VMS-5 (ViDAR Maritime Surveillance) Day/Night Optical Radar pod. The VMS-5 Day/Night pod is the first of a range of ViDAR surveillance pods configured for different missions and aircraft types. VMS pods will be available for customer delivery during the first half of 2021.
ViDAR (which stands for Visual Detection and Ranging) is an Optical Radar that can autonomously detect small objects on the sea surface over very wide areas, by day and night, in conditions up to Sea State 6. ViDAR has proven its capability as both a Search and Rescue (SAR) and a maritime search and surveillance tool, with demand for support of a wide range of missions growing globally, including drug interdiction, anti-piracy and illegal fishing detection.
“ViDAR offers customers much better wide-area situational awareness at a lower cost than anything else available,” said Dr Paul Boxer, Sentient Managing Director. “This is especially the case in Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.
“By building our own integrated ViDAR pods we’re able to offer customers an enhanced surveillance capability backed up by dedicated support. Importantly, we control the quality and reliability of the ViDAR installation to deliver a more consistent, well-engineered, end-to-end integration and training process. And in many cases these new ViDAR systems will be more cost effective than a bespoke ViDAR installation or a once-off installation,” Dr Boxer added.
Since 2016, Sentient has supplied ViDAR as a software-based solution to operators such as the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), US Coastguard, the RAN and Canadian Fisheries, who’ve integrated it successfully aboard manned and unmanned, fixed-wing and rotary wing platforms. Responding to market and partner demand the company is now stepping up to also become an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) offering ViDAR as a complete solution, including sensors and processors, for operators around the world.
The ViDAR VMS-5 pod is equipped with multiple fixed, high-resolution cameras with a combined Field of View (FoV) of 180 degrees. From an altitude of 1500ft at a speed of about 90kt, they scan a surface swath 3.2 nautical miles wide to find targets as small as a person in the water. If the mission objective is to find a suspicious boat with a low radar cross-section then the ViDAR swath can easily be increased to over 25nm from 5,000ft.
If the target is within its field of view, ViDAR will spot it, even in Sea State 6 – increasing probability of detection to over 96% on first pass. The ViDAR software provides a thumbnail to the operator’s mission system showing the target and its location, enabling the operator to slew the platform’s primary sensor onto it for further inspection. The pods will be offered initially with two sensor types: a 60 Megapixel Electro-Optic (E/O) installation and a HD Infrared (IR) sensor for night and bad weather operations. Depending on the application these can also be equipped with a camera turret.
The initial VMS-5 pod design is being flight tested and demonstrated on a Cessna 172, with other pod designs being developed for larger, faster aircraft such as the Viking Twin Otter, King Air 300, Boeing 737 based maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters such as the AS365, AW139, AW189, AW101 and a range of medium-altitude long endurance (MALE) UAVs.
The release of this first ViDAR pod follows some two years of self-funded R&D by Sentient Vision Systems. The company continues to work with a number of specialist pod manufacturers on a range of projects. “Different pod designs suit different missions and aircraft installations, so we’re deliberately offering customer flexibility,” said Dr Boxer. (Source: Rumour Control)
05 Apr 21. Israeli air force debuts new spy aircraft, say military. Israel’s air force received on Sunday a new intelligence aircraft that will provide the military with “unprecedented” reconnaissance capabilities, reported Xinhua news agency, quoting the Defence Ministry.
The so-called “Oron” airplane landed on Sunday in the Nevatim airbase in southern Israel after more than nine years of developments by the Defence Ministry, the Israeli Air Force, the Intelligence Directorate, the Israeli Navy, and the Israel Aerospace Industries, according to a statement issued by the Defence Ministry.
The “Oron” is based on the Gulfstream G550, a business jet manufactured by the US-based General Dynamics company. The “Oron” is equipped with an advanced radar system and data processing algorithms based on advanced data science and artificial intelligence capabilities.
These systems would enable the military to generate “an unprecedented depth and scope of intelligence in real-time, in any weather or visibility conditions, during routine operations and conflict,” the statement read.
Air Force Commander Amikam Norkin said in the statement that the aircraft will enable the air force “to further enhance its operational and intelligence superiority in the face of emerging threats and security challenges.”
According to Gen. Yaniv Rotem, head of the military research and development unit in the Defence Ministry, Onboard radar and other systems would stream real-time data to the intelligence units.
Additionally, artificial intelligence technology would enable automated and efficient data processing. It “will produce actionable intelligence in real-time, enhancing the effectiveness of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) operational activities,” he said. (Source: Google/https://www.theedgemarkets.com/)
Blighter® Surveillance Systems (BSS) is a UK-based electronic-scanning radar and sensor solution provider delivering an integrated multi-sensor package to systems integrators comprising the Blighter electronic-scanning radars, cameras, thermal imagers, trackers and software solutions. Blighter radars combine patented solid-state Passive Electronic Scanning Array (PESA) technology with advanced Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) and Doppler processing to provide a robust and persistent surveillance capability. Blighter Surveillance Systems is a Plextek Group company, a leading British design house and technology innovator, and is based at Great Chesterford on the outskirts of Cambridge, England.
The Blighter electronic-scanning (e-scan) FMCW Doppler ground surveillance radar (GSR) is a unique patented product that provides robust intruder detection capabilities under the most difficult terrain and weather conditions. With no mechanical moving parts and 100% solid-state design, the Blighter radar family of products are extremely reliable and robust and require no routine maintenance for five years. The Blighter radar can operate over land and water rapidly searching for intruders as small a crawling person, kayaks and even low-flying objects. In its long-range modes the Blighter radar can rapidly scan an area in excess of 3,000 km² to ensure that intruders are detected, identified and intercepted before they reach critical areas.